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Getting use to brakes

AvoneerAvoneer Posts: 525
edited September 2009 in Road beginners
Hi All,

I've just bought my firsy drop bar after 20 years on MTB's and Hybrids.

I've only done about 20 miles so far, but I'm really not feeling these brakes.

There just seems to be a real lack of initial bite and the ability to quickly scrub off speed when going fast (pulling from the hoods).

I take it they need some bedding in like car brakes, but does the initial bite come eventually, or is this just the nature of drop bar brakes?

I'm also finding it really awkward to pull the levers when on the drops, especially when commuting.

I guess this is partly to being used to v's and their positive inital bite.

Any thoughts anyone?

Pat...
"Campagnolo has soul, Shimano has ruthless efficiency and SRAM has yet to acquire mystique. Differentiating between them is a matter of taste"

Posts

  • skinsonskinson Posts: 362
    What brakes are they? I have ultegra's and they slow me down at speeds in excess of 30mph, on some very steep downhills from the hoods very easily. In fact very little pressure required.
    Dave
  • AvoneerAvoneer Posts: 525
    I'm on the ones that came with the bike - Tektro R310's.

    Pat...
    "Campagnolo has soul, Shimano has ruthless efficiency and SRAM has yet to acquire mystique. Differentiating between them is a matter of taste"
  • carl_pcarl_p Posts: 989
    You could try increasing the cable tension.

    Slacken off the cable, squeeze the pads with your fingers against the rim, relax it off a tad and then retighten the cable whilst maintaining the pressure on the pads.
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  • AvoneerAvoneer Posts: 525
    They're the 1st thing I checked when the bike arrived.

    I can lock them up solid in the garage on the stand.

    I still think they need bedding in somewhat, just wondering how good they get?

    Pat...
    "Campagnolo has soul, Shimano has ruthless efficiency and SRAM has yet to acquire mystique. Differentiating between them is a matter of taste"
  • GarzGarz Posts: 1,155
    My tektro on the boardman are a bit girly. They slow me down o.k. but would have to pull them very tight if im doing anything over 30pmh. Perhaps a good thing though as I wouldnt want to tap a brake and it throws me over the bars at high speed.

    Will upgrade to a better set once I have more use out of them.
  • cjwcjw Posts: 1,889
    If you think about it, pretty much the only difference to braking with a better set will be a different brake pad (Ok lighter and maybe a bit of flex etc etc) but only the brake pad touches the rim. Why not try a different pad first and see if that helps.

    Also, I moved to Road from MTB recently, and the road brakes are certainly not as powerful or sure as my Avid Ultimate disk brakes, but I don't feel any real need for any more as I can still lock the wheels if I try from the hoods.
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  • RockhopperRockhopper Posts: 503
    They don't need any bedding in like disk brakes do but unless you have very strong fingers you'll struggle to brake hard on the hoods and unless you have quite long fingers you'll also struggle when on the drops!

    You may be able to get some shims to move the lever closer to the bar if you struggle on the drops although that won't help braking from above.

    You have flipped the quick release thingy though haven't you?
  • synchronicitysynchronicity Posts: 1,415
    I agree that road brakes are usually pathetic.

    You can try different pads & calipers.
    Last but not least, don't overlook the brake cable housing also... :wink:
  • lastwordslastwords Posts: 304
    I have tektro brakes on my carrera Valour and the brakes are not very good, they did improve with a bit of time but there still not very good when going at speed.

    The bike has cheap cables on it so better non compression housing would improve them and probably different pads.

    I just try to read the road ahead and slow down in plenty of time.
  • skyd0gskyd0g Posts: 2,540
    When I first got my new road bike, I was also a little dismayed by the poor performance of the brakes, especially compared to the Magura Hydraulics (rim) I had on my old Orange Clockwork.

    The brakes on my road bike are Tektro R720's (Boardman Comp) and I first thought how poor the brakes were with the supplied (one-piece no-name/Tektro?) pads.

    I swopped the original pads to Kool Stops (with holders) and the braking improved 100% straight away. http://www.dotbike.com/ProductsP5993.aspx?utm_source%3dinternal%26utm_medium%3d3%26utm_campaign%3dDDI
    P5993_250.jpg
    I also found that the holders allowed for more accurate alignment and toe-in than the original pads. Well recommended. 8)
    They even come with a second set of replacement Salmon pads!

    In respect of the reach on the drops, have you tried rotating the bars a little?
    Cycling weakly
  • hopper1hopper1 Posts: 4,389
    I've just got my new bike, fitted with SRAM Force... First time I used them yesterday (from the hoods), they almost through me over the handlebars!!!
    No complaints there. :wink:
    Start with a budget, finish with a mortgage!
  • peanutpeanut Posts: 1,373
    I agree that road brakes are usually pathetic.

    they shouldn't be. Mine have to stop me and I weighed 17stone 10lbs recently and often meeded to brake downhill at speeds in excess of 35mph .

    If the brakes are not stopping properly they need attention either time to bed in or a different shoe compound to suit the rims.

    Its surprising how many riders don't adjust the brake pads properly so the whole pad bears on the full depth of both the pads and rim
  • EscargotEscargot Posts: 361
    I agree that road brakes are usually pathetic.

    Really ? I have a MTB with hydraulics and whilst they're very good don't have a problem at all with my Ultegra brakes.

    I'm no speed demon but was doing a shade over 20mph into what I thought was a clear roundabout when out of nowhere a nurse came flying in so I slammed on the brakes. I stopped dead, the brakes wiping off the speed impressively (my first emergency stop with Ultegras).

    I looked up to see the nurse taking the roundabout one handed whilst gassing on her mobile phone :roll: On the bright side at least I would have received instant care if she had taken me out.
  • WoodchipWoodchip Posts: 205
    Having come from an MTB background road brakes are rubbish compared to my Formula The One Hydraulic discs.

    However, when I had to slam on the anchors from 20MPH the other day because Mr K*obface decided to not look for a cyclist they done the job. Didn't skid and came to a controlled abrupt stop.

    OK, so I'm only 12 stone 4 and hung off the back of the saddle but they do the job. Still tempted to upgrade from the Scott brakes of current.
    I have nothing more to say on the matter.
  • Takis61Takis61 Posts: 239
    Definitely try changing the pads, and set them up close to the rims.
    Tektro don't get great reviews, the bike mags marked down the Boardmans because of them.
    I had a Specialized Allez & the brakes were/are rubbish, but my LBS improved them with set up.
    Got Campag Centaur on my Ribble & they are absolutely fantastic.
    Also, look at technique - most pros use just the front brake mainly, just add a little on the back when needed.
    Danger is that when you grab both levers full on you can skid the rear.
    My knees hurt !
  • AvoneerAvoneer Posts: 525
    Pads would make sense as I guess the bike has come with the cheapest black rubber available.

    After some hard brake testing, I can easily lock the rear wheel now, but the front is just "weak".

    Set up is fine and yes, the quick release doo dars are where they should be.

    Think I'll go for front pads made from a real compound and see what happens.

    As for struggling from the drops, I guess it's partly because I have medium hands and not being used to them - will see how I get on.

    Thanks all,

    Pat...
    "Campagnolo has soul, Shimano has ruthless efficiency and SRAM has yet to acquire mystique. Differentiating between them is a matter of taste"
  • sovedasoveda Posts: 306
    Re: reach from the drops, what levers do you have? My Tiagra equipped bike came with inserts to bring the levers closer to the bar (I also have relatively small hands).
  • AvoneerAvoneer Posts: 525
    Shimano poverty spec 2200's.

    Pat...
    "Campagnolo has soul, Shimano has ruthless efficiency and SRAM has yet to acquire mystique. Differentiating between them is a matter of taste"
  • lastwordslastwords Posts: 304
    Mine are also set up properly i think the pads are just cheap i have managed to lock the rear wheel up once.

    But i can definatly say the brakes are nothing compared to my Avid juicy 7's on my mtb.

    I would not like the power of the mtb brakes on the road bike anyway it would just lock up the wheels.
  • lastwords wrote:
    Mine are also set up properly i think the pads are just cheap i have managed to lock the rear wheel up once.

    But i can definatly say the brakes are nothing compared to my Avid juicy 7's on my mtb.

    I would not like the power of the mtb brakes on the road bike anyway it would just lock up the wheels.

    normally no, but at higher speed and or wet etc then would i love some good disk brakes on the roadie? lord yes thats not to say the brakes are bad on the old bike but they could be better, a lot better.
  • GarzGarz Posts: 1,155
    skyd0g wrote:
    The brakes on my road bike are Tektro R720's (Boardman Comp) and I first thought how poor the brakes were with the supplied (one-piece no-name/Tektro?) pads.

    I swopped the original pads to Kool Stops (with holders) and the braking improved 100% straight away. http://www.dotbike.com/ProductsP5993.aspx?utm_source%3dinternal%26utm_medium%3d3%26utm_campaign%3dDDI
    P5993_250.jpg
    I also found that the holders allowed for more accurate alignment and toe-in than the original pads. Well recommended. 8)
    They even come with a second set of replacement Salmon pads!

    Thanks for sharing this info skydog, shall make this adjustment to my boardman next!
  • skyd0gskyd0g Posts: 2,540
    Garz wrote:
    skyd0g wrote:
    The brakes on my road bike are Tektro R720's (Boardman Comp) and I first thought how poor the brakes were with the supplied (one-piece no-name/Tektro?) pads.

    I swopped the original pads to Kool Stops (with holders) and the braking improved 100% straight away. http://www.dotbike.com/ProductsP5993.aspx?utm_source%3dinternal%26utm_medium%3d3%26utm_campaign%3dDDI
    P5993_250.jpg
    I also found that the holders allowed for more accurate alignment and toe-in than the original pads. Well recommended. 8)
    They even come with a second set of replacement Salmon pads!

    Thanks for sharing this info skydog, shall make this adjustment to my boardman next!

    No problem Garz, the OEM Boarman blocks are only slightly better than blackboard rubbers - these improved my braking ability massively.
    I always prefer to stop before I hit something, rather than because I hit something!
    Cycling weakly
  • GarzGarz Posts: 1,155
    Very true that! As I have had a couple of hair raising moments lately dropping from high speeds, I shall join you in the blackboard rubber abolishment. :)
  • synchronicitysynchronicity Posts: 1,415
    Escargot wrote:
    I agree that road brakes are usually pathetic.

    Really ? I have a MTB with hydraulics and whilst they're very good don't have a problem at all with my Ultegra brakes.

    I'm no speed demon but was doing a shade over 20mph into what I thought was a clear roundabout when out of nowhere a nurse came flying in so I slammed on the brakes. I stopped dead, the brakes wiping off the speed impressively (my first emergency stop with Ultegras).

    I looked up to see the nurse taking the roundabout one handed whilst gassing on her mobile phone :roll: On the bright side at least I would have received instant care if she had taken me out.

    What size discs have you got on your MTB I wonder :?:
    And how many pistons in those calipers of yours :?:

    I think shimano cable housing just doesn't take advantage of rim brakes. 700c rims have a diameter 3-5x that of most discs, so they should be more powerful than they are. Yet you can squeeze the brakes harder and harder and they don't seem to really bite. The levers often hit the bars before you achieve full power...

    Some people may find this article I wrote interesting...
  • AvoneerAvoneer Posts: 525
    Quick update - I got the Kool-Stops and my brakes are now very functional.

    Very good upgrade.

    Pat...
    "Campagnolo has soul, Shimano has ruthless efficiency and SRAM has yet to acquire mystique. Differentiating between them is a matter of taste"
  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    IME Cheap Tektros are censored
    I like bikes...

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  • AvoneerAvoneer Posts: 525
    +1 from me!

    Pat...
    "Campagnolo has soul, Shimano has ruthless efficiency and SRAM has yet to acquire mystique. Differentiating between them is a matter of taste"
  • for an interesting experience try using gear cable housing in place of brake housing only on an off-road (ie a small private carpark etc.) you'll have almost no braking which seems to back up synchronicity's statement. Trust me it's terrifying!

    but pad flex has got to be significant, mainly due to toe-in.
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